Gov. Rick Snyder signs bills making court paperwork more simple, accessible using e-filing

LANSING, Mich. – Six bills signed by Gov. Rick Snyder today will modernize the Michigan court filing system by taking it online, and provide efficiency and cost benefits to local municipalities.

“Modernizing state government is a major priority, and as inefficiencies are identified, they are being addressed,” Snyder said. “Enacting an e-filing system statewide for local courts is a common sense change that saves residents a trip to the courthouse when they need to file a document and eases the burden on employees.”

House Bills 5208, 5029 and 5030 sponsored by state Reps. Klint Kesto, Kurt Heise and Amanda Price, respectively, define the terms of the electronic filing system and lay out the fees for electronic filings, including a provision that indigent filers are exempt from electronic fees if they are exempt from regular filing fees. Senate Bills 531, 532 and 533, sponsored by Sens. Rick Jones, John Proos and Tonya Schuitmaker, respectively, lay out the requirements for e-filing, maintain that all e-filing fees collected are used for implementing, operating and maintaining the system, and specify that the public may retrieve and view e-filed records for free, but must pay for copies of the documents. The bills are now Public Acts 230-235 of 2015.

Gov. Snyder today also signed fifteen additional measures:

HBs 4212 and 4215, sponsored by state Rep. Roger Victory, allow boards of county commissioners to absorb their county road commissions and assume their duties by eliminating the Jan. 1, 2015 sunset and extending it to Jan. 1, 2020. Since the law was created in 2012 to encourage cost savings, many boards have considered consolidation, however only Ingham, Jackson and Calhoun counties have so far disbanded their local road agencies. The bills are now PAs 236 and 237.

HBs 4596 and 4597, sponsored by state Rep. Lisa Lyons, eliminate redundant campaign filing requirements for judges and justices by scrapping a written statement indicating a campaign committee does not expect to spend or receive more than $1,000, which they cannot do because judicial rules do not allow them to raise funds in non-election years. The bills are now PAs 238 and 239.

SB 500, sponsored by Sen. Ken Horn, will allow the taxable wage base to remain at $9,000 in 2016 for employers who are not delinquent. This will reduce confusion and streamline operations for Michigan’s some 200,000 employers when calculating their unemployment contributions for employees. The bill is now PA 240.

HB 4095, sponsored by Rep. Al Pscholka, makes current fiscal year appropriations authorizing capital projects at Ferris State University, Lake Michigan College, West Shore Community College, and the Michigan State Police Rockford Post forensic crime laboratory. It is now PA 241.

SB 538, sponsored by state Sen. Jack Brandenburg, reduces the time frame in which the state Department of Treasury can do certain unclaimed property audits, which are now taking up to several years, with the goal of completing audits through a streamlined process within 18 months. It is now PA 242.

HB 4930, sponsored by state Rep. Aric Nesbitt, allows transfer of a life estate or life lease to immediate family members without subjecting the property to “pop up” property taxes. It is now PA 243.

SBs 177 and 178, sponsored by Sen. Joe Hune, update regulations for insurance holding companies, including requiring additional risk reporting. The updated standards allow Michigan to retain its accreditation with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners by having uniform policies that other states also use as a framework for establishing insurance policies. The bills are now PA 244 and 245.

HB 4581, sponsored by state Rep. Kathy Crawford, updates the Liquor Control Code to allow a 75 cent increase in the maximum per-case offset fee the Liquor Control Commission pays when it purchases a case of liquor from a vendor. The bill is now PA 246.

SB 552, sponsored by state Sen. Mike Green, reduces groundwater discharge permit fees for smaller volume facilities like campgrounds, parks, laundromats and car washes relative to the reduced regulatory workload they place on the permitting process. It also helps ensure groundwater is safe for use in drinking, crop irrigation and other industrial projects by extending the sunset on discharge permit fees through Sept. 30, 2019. The bill is now PA 247.

HB 4563, sponsored by state Rep. Eric Leutheuser, allows townships to contract with nonprofit organizations that provide services to victims of sexual or domestic violence. The bill helps assault and domestic violence victims better connect with emergency shelters, legal advocates, crisis hotlines, counseling and other emotional or monetary support programs. It is now PA 248.

HB 4680, sponsored by state Rep. Dave Pagel, allows for the sale of cut and sew products made by prisoners to the general public in addition to government entities and nonprofit organizations for an additional five years, until June 1, 2020. It is now PA 249.

HB 4713, sponsored by state Rep. Ed McBroom, helps decrease the number of criminal prosecutions for regulatory crimes by removing criminal liability in situations where the defendant has not acted recklessly or with knowledge. The bill requires a defendant to show intent, knowledge or recklessness to be criminally prosecuted for a crime that did not previously require proof of a particular state of mind. It is now PA 250.

For more information on this and other legislation, please visit www.legislature.mi.gov.

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